Friday Photo #177 – Kvalvika Beach

Kvalvika Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Spring light over Kvalvika beach from Ryten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 19, 2016. 20:37

May is the month of melting snow and the arrival of the midnight sun over Lofoten. Yet even in the near endless days, winter doesn’t always easily give up its grip over the islands, as experienced on this cold evening on Ryten, with knee deep snow which had fallen over the previous 2-3 days across the higher elevations of the islands. A couple days later, all was gone again.

Even with the sun in the sky for 24 hours as it begins today, the sun’s location in the sky is still an important element while photographing the islands. In my Seasons on Lofoten – Winter eBook I have gone into some detail about the movement of the winter sun and its influence on when to photograph certain locations, so perhaps in the coming days of summer, I will begin to write a bit more about the midnight sun.

Kvalvika beach as viewed from Ryten is a perfect example of this. Even though the sun might not set below the horizon and this sounds like a good location to watch the midnight sun, the beach actually receives the best light, shining directly into the bay, from about 19:00 – 23:00. When the sun reaches its low point on the horizon around 01:00, the beach will be left in shadow, due to the mountains shadowing it from the north.

So, if you’re planning to head up to Ryten for ‘sunset,’ go up a few hours earlier to get the light across the beach as well.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 320
f 10
1/250 seconds
WB Daylight
5 vertical image pano

New Ebook – Kungsleden South

EBOOK - Kungsleden South

I’m super proud to announce that my 5th ebook has been released: Kungsleden South.

Following on from my previous Kungsleden North ebook, Kungsleden South is a hiking guide to the southernmost section of Sweden’s Kungsleden trail – from Ammarnäs to Hemavan.

Available for $7 – CLICK HERE for more info.


Friday Photo #176 – Spring Aurora

April Northern Lights - Lofoten Islands

Photo: Spring Aurora, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 1, 2016. 22:03

This is the final image from my 2016 northern lights season on Lofoten – though there were some displays afterwards, so it wasn’t the last of Lofoten in general.

Overall, having been on Lofoten since early February, I would call in a below average northern lights season for me. There were many clear nights this February and March, but the sky seemed to be quite, something which can be quite frustrating while waiting on top of a mountain in otherwise perfect weather. Perhaps I’m just getting a little more picky in the images I want to create – simply seeing a faint green glow on the horizon no longer excites me – I want to creating dynamic and exciting images of the lights.

With the nights no longer dark, I’ll be eagerly waiting till autumn for my next chances of camping under the dancing sky.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 1250
f 4
25 seconds
WB Daylight

Lofoten Islands Photo Tour – Last Days Of Summer – August 2016

Lofoten Photo Workshop - Last Days of Summer 2016

Lofoten Islands Photo Workshop – Last Days Of Summer – August 20 – 26, 2016

The end of August brings the last days of summer to Lofoten. This is a period of transition, where a hint of autumn color can be seen across the land while the growing nights still have a faint glow in the northern horizon. The weather can become turbulent and yet summer still is still here, keeping the islands open for exploration. And if we are lucky, the first hints of northern lights might make an appearance in the midnight sky.

Come join me on this exploration of Lofoten. We will chase the light and storms along the coast and take advantage of any fair weather to head up to some nearby peaks, for world class views across hidden beaches and distant mountains. We may even decide to ‘stay up’ for sunrise, while enjoying a campfire and bbq at a scenic seaside location.

More info and itinerary – LAST DAYS OF SUMMER 2016 LOFOTEN PHOTO TOUR

Friday Photo #175 – Andenes Whale Watching

Andenes Whale Watching

Photo: Whale watching, Andenes, Vesterålen, Norway. May 3, 2016. 19:30

Prior to the other week, I had only seen Andenes from the sea while on a sailing trip to Lofoten in 2014. So when the opportunity came up for me to go do some whale watching with Sea Safari Andenes, I hopped in the van and began the 5 hour drive north from Lofoten – It may look close on a map, but it is quite a ways up there!

I will be guiding a couple Lofoten and Andenes whale watching tours next year – some spots are still available for the January 2017 Muench Workshops tour – so I wanted to see what it was all about first.

Whales are in the area of Andenes year round, however in January and February there can be a bit more action when the killer whales are present. In the spring, it was Sperm whales, diving deep for squid a few kilometers off the coast. Despite what looked to me like a basically flat and open ocean, Marten, the guide, was able to find the first whale within about 20 minutes. And then several more were spotted in the following hours. The RIB boats are fast, and pretty fun in general, but also provide a good, low vantage point of the whale, helping to separate them from the sea as in this photo.

As I am not much of a wildlife photographer, the longest lens I have is a 79-200mm. And this image is a crop from that. I think a 200-400 would have been ideal for the trip I was on, though that won’t be in my budget anytime soon, unfortunately. However, for next winter, I’m hoping 200mm will be long enough for the faster and more active killer whales.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 70-200mm f/4
ISO 200
f 4.5
1/1600 second
WB Daylight

Lofoten Photo Tour – Distant Beaches – July 2016

Lofoten Photo Workshops Summer 2016

Lofoten Islands Photo Workshop – Distant Beaches – July 23 – 29, 2016

With the sun setting just below the horizon each night, the end of July brings the twilight nights to Lofoten. No longer the midnight sun, and not yet dark, the ‘night’ is one long transition from sunset to sunrise. We will use these long days and glowing nights to explore and camp in some of Lofoten’s best destinations.

This Photography workshop is more than just a tour of Lofoten, it will be a total outdoor experience of the Islands. The heart of this trip will consist of a 4 day – 3 night hiking and camping tour across the wild northern coast of Moskenesøy, where we will take turns watching the sun sink into the sea from sandy beaches and mountain summits.

More info and Itinerary – DISTANT BEACHES 2016 LOFOTEN PHOTO TOUR

Friday Photo #174 – Uttakleiv Winter Twilight

Uttakleiv Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Uttakleiv winter twilight, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 22, 2016. 17:48

A late start after a day full of errands saw me racing up Mannen with the sun quickly nearing the horizon behind me. Luckily I managed to arrive at a decent view point before the sun disappeared from Haukland beach, before continuing on towards the summit.

I packed light, but the full moon and perfect weather brought me to the summit in hopes of some northern lights later in the evening. However, in the changing twilight, I had 360˚ views over some of Lofoten’s most popular landscapes – yet from a perspective that is rarely visited in winter.

As the sky darkened the orange street lamps of Uttakleiv provided a nice contrast to the cool blues of the winter snow.  I could see the cars driving back and forth of visiting photographers, yet I sat alone at the top, surrounded by silence.

Eventually the moon rose and lit up the landscape. Despite being warmly dressed, I did begin to get cold after spending 6+ hours out in the open. The auroras up to this point in February had been relatively weak and uninspiring (compared to their potential), and by 10pm, it was evident that this night would be quiet as well.

The moon illuminated my quiet descent down to Haukland.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 80
f 14
25 seconds
WB Daylight

Lofoten Photo Tour – Midnight Mountains – July 2016

Lofoten Photo Workshop - July 2016

Lofoten Islands Photo Workshop – Midnight Mountains – July 2 – 8, 2016

We will become nocturnal on this workshop and time will cease to be of much importance. Our goal is to hike to scenic mountain views and photograph the hours-long sunset to sunrise which occurs around midnight. And when our legs are tired, we might pick up a grill and spend an evening around a bbq and campfire with our cameras shooting time-lapses down by the sea.

This is a photography workshop about experiencing the best of Lofoten’s outdoors.

More info and itinerary – MIDNIGHT MOUTNAINS 20116 PHOTO WORKSHOP.

Muench Workshops – Lofoten and Vesterålen Photo Tour – January 2017

Muench Workshops - Lofoten and Vesterålen 2017

Muench Workshops – Lofoten Landscapes and Vesterålen Whale Safari – January 20 – 29, 2017

After the success guiding their 2015 Lofoten Photo workshop, I will once again be guiding for Muench workshops alongside Andy Williams for their 2017 Lofoten and Vesterålen photography workshop.

The tour begins on Lofoten, where we will focus on capturing the winter landscapes and, if we’re lucky, nights full of northern lights. We will first be based on Sakrisøy, near Reine, to focus on the western parts of the Islands, with the iconic peak Olstind just out the front door. Next we will travel to Leknes, so we can be near the fantastic beaches of Vestvågøy.

After Lofoten, we will drive several hours north to Andenes on Vesterålen. Here, we will take to the sea on private rib boats for two days of whale watching in the dramatic winter light.

Contact Muench Workshops for more info and booking.